Here’s another of our “Student Spotlights”…get to know Murilo Leite…
1. Can you tell readers how you became involved with dance?
Dance has been in my life for as long as I can remember but not in the usual sense. I didn’t start ballet when I was 3 years old and go through all the exams in tap and modern. I grew up next door to a dance college in Brazil and even as a kid I used to sneak out of my house to watch the classes because there was something about the atmosphere that enticed me. I’d then go home and teach myself the sequences in secret but it wasn’t until I was 12 or 13 that I attended my first class and really I didn’t start doing it regularly until I was 16 when I co-founded a performing youth company called Re*Flex Dance Co. which is still going today 8 years later!
2. What do you find you like best about dance class?
The hard work. I love a class that challenges my mind and body to the maximum, there’s no better feeling than finally being able to do a sequence that at first seemed impossible but with perseverance and determination the reward is unmatched. Also sweating is the sign of a great class!
3. What is the hardest part about dance for you?
For me the hardest part is also the most productive. I find myself constantly comparing myself to other dancers in the studio, admiring the ease of his grand battement or how beautifully curly her feet are! Naturally there are things others can do that I can’t, I’m quite self critical and always striving to be better so though I find it hard it also pushes me to jump higher, land softer, run faster or move slower… You get the idea.
4. What advice would you give to other dancers?
I always say to dancers who are beginning their training to think hard about what it is they are doing it for. For me, I think you have to love it, no – you have feel more than love for it because it’s tough, it’s full of knock downs, it’s not the best paid job and so on. Saying that, if you love it there’s nothing else that will satisfy you more, it will be exactly the life you always hoped for and none of the bad stuff will come close to taking away from how it fulfills you.
5. How has dance changed your life?
Dance hasn’t changed my life, it has shaped it. It is something I’ve always loved and for many years it was my sole focus, all my energy was being put into dance as my final goal. I feel I am blessed to have had dance in my life because it has always given me a path to follow so that when in other parts of my life or when my friends and family reached that part in growing up that we all go through where we are unsure what the hell we’re doing I could put my efforts further into dance.
Since then I’ve realised that it doesn’t need to be the only thing in my life which I guess could be something else I would use as advice, but I also think this is something one needs to find out for themselves. Yes, to succeed with dance as a career you must put 200% and more but you should never forget that you are a person first, a dancer second. That is something that really opened my eyes to life and the world when the penny finally dropped.